What Are the Main Components of Local SEO?
As search engine optimization continues to become more complex and rankings in search results become more contested, new strategies and targets for brands continue to emerge. Small businesses and brands cannot realistically expect to rank highly in more generic search results, as the competition is simply too steep and established. This has been one of the big reasons why local SEO has become increasingly popular with smaller and local-based brands seeking to connect with audiences. Many of the same dynamics of SEO apply here, but what are the main components of local SEO that you need to understand? Let’s review them here so that you’ll be ready to formulate a cohesive local strategy.
It should go without saying that local SEO emphasizes delivering nearby, relevant results to those looking for answers or solutions. Search engines use a variety of algorithms and methods to determine whether your content is relevant to a given person. This can include – but is not limited to – the amount of content present on your site, the frequency at which your NAP are mentioned, what keywords you are targeting, whether your website is optimized for mobile searches, and a variety of other data-points. In short, it is important to emulate the user experience, pinging servers with all of the information, answers and details they might wish to find. This will help you rank for as many locally-relevant search results in your niche as possible.
Perhaps the most important element in local SEO is the distance between the location of the brand and the location of the person. Especially when dealing with mobile search results, search engines like Google and Bing do their best to display results that are most relevant to the user’s location. This is why NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) is so critical for businesses that wish to be seen by nearby users. Ultimately, the distance between the searcher and the business – when weighed against the competitiveness of the niche – will determine how prominently any listing ranks in a given SERP.
Is your brand well known among your target audience? Is it generating the amount of online attention you’d like to see, or are you relatively new to the scene? Questions like these will help you determine how well you rank in the third component of local SEO. In short, the amount of discussion and interaction with your brand – from backlinks to reviews left on sites like Yelp and Google – help search engines figure out where to place a local business or brand in a given SERP. If you have just formed your brand online, then there likely won’t be too much discussion occurring about the quality of your products or services. This is primarily the biggest challenge many small and local businesses face: without lots of people pinging servers and commenting about you, search engines will be skeptical to rank you highly. Over time, however, the buzz surrounding your brand can grow and with it, your potential to rank prominently.
The three main components of local SEO – the relevance of your content, the proximity of your brand to people and the amount of buzz online about it – all determine your base rankings. With this information in mind, you can better formulate a plan that shores up your weaknesses and highlights your strengths.